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Kentucky developer wants $5M for SunTrust conversion

A Kentucky developer has confirmed its interest in renovating the Hill Building into a hotel – "with significant city and county assistance."

In a statement this afternoon, 21c Museum Hotels of Louisville said it had been approached by Greenfire Development, the Durham company that bought the 17-story landmark from SunTrust Bank in 2006.

According to the statement, 21c wants a $5 million public incentive and will come up with $40 million on its own for the conversion.

City Manager Tom Bonfield said an agreement with 21c is "in play."

However, in a memo to county commissioners last week, Deputy County Manager Marqueta Wilson said she had told 21c President Craig Greenberg that Durham County was "not prepared" to meet his request for $2 million. She said city officials taking part in a conference call also said they were "not prepared to offer the full amount requested."

In 2010, the city approved a $4.2 million incentive and the county $1 million for Greenfire, providing Greenfire began construction work by July 31, 2011 and completed the project by July 31, 2013. Greenfire met the first deadline by obtaining demolition permits for interior work, but has demonstrated little if any progress since then.

Bonfield said the 2010 incentives are still technically on the table, but it would be impossible for Greenfire to meet the completion deadline.

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